Brief introduction to partitions in Linux

Partitions are divisions to the disk made by software


If I've learned anything in my years as a retailer, it's not to assume people know the basics. That's why I am going to give a brief introduction to partitions in Linux.

For a long time, within the community there was a bad habit of looking down on newbies by refusing to answer their questions and sending them to search on Google. Even those of us who have never fallen into that, usually make the mistake of not returning to the basics from time to time.

None of us were born knowing, and today's rookie may be tomorrow's Linus or Stallman.

What is a partition

A partition is a software subdivision of the storage device. In practice, the operating system will consider each partition as if it were an independent storage medium. This is useful, for example, if we have data that we want to access from different operating systems, if there is information that we want to hide or data that we do not want to be lost when installing a new version of Linux from scratch.

Brief introduction to partitions in Linux

Before being able to install an operating system on the hard drive of our computer and, in order to manage the information both on it and on external storage devices such as pendrives or memory cards, It is necessary to carry out a series of previous steps.

Although hard drives often come ready to use and even with utility software, they are most likely only prepared for Windows. It is then that we will have to delete its content. I recommend that you make a copy of what it contains before doing so..

A restriction that we must take into account is that for obvious reasons We cannot modify the partition of the operating system we are using. This is the reason why to make any changes we will need another operating system. It is possible to use one installed on our computer or removable device, a Linux distribution in live mode designed for maintenance or repair tasks or the installation media for any Linux distribution.

In live mode the operating system runs in the computer's memory so it does not require installation

Returning to the topic of the article, Any storage medium with write permission needs at least one partition of a size equal to or smaller than its capacity. If we want that partition to store data, it must be formatted with a file system.

An advantage of Linux distributions over Windows is that they can read data from the partitions used by the latter without the need for additional software. Although the development version of some of the previous Windows releases included the ability to read Linux partitions, it was never officially released, so additional software will be required.

Regarding the number of partitions that can be created, there are currently no restrictions, except those given by logic. There is no point in creating multiple partitions that are not large enough to be useful.

We said that each partition needs a file system. A file system is a way to organize stored data. Although multiple file systems can coexist on a disk, each partition can only have one.

In addition to the stored data, File systems include the information necessary to access them, such as their name, size, and access permissions. An index is included which, in addition to the content, indicates its location to allow access to it more quickly.

It is always advisable before changing the file system of a partition to make copies of important data, format it and copy the information again. Some say that you can change the file system without formatting, but it is a risk that is not justified.

In the next article we will delve deeper into the topic of partition tables and file systems.


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